Charleston Summer Classics – A Vacation for Horses and Riders


Johns Island, SC - July 17, 2011 - How often during the heat of summer can an exhibitor in the Southern portions of the US say they enjoyed horse showing? While much of the equine community is experiencing uncomfortable temperatures, participants at the Charleston Summer Classics are being treated to a resort like atmosphere.   

Week One at the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center welcomed riders with a vacation sensory overload- from pleasant ocean breezes billowing across the beautiful grounds- to put them in a beachy frame of mind to tropical drinks under the ringside tent each afternoon. “Exhibitors are enjoying a resort escape that just happens to include a horse show! Everyone is having a ball.” Bob Bell, President of Classic Company said.  

The Charleston Summer Classic is one of Bell’s Boutique Shows, which he defines as, “Boutique (boo teek)-noun- A horse show that is fashionable and unique. Always held at wonderful venues with excellent accommodations for special horses, owners, and riders. Always includes parties, trendy classes, and fun events. Always has stylish trophies and rewards for Grand Champions. Always has Mimosas on Sunday mornings.”  Bell even designed class schedules to allow exhibitors and their horses more time for fun on the multitude of white sandy beaches, a mere 10 minutes away.

Elizabeth Boyd and Marksmann Win $2500 USHJA National Hunter Classic

Even with all the swaying palms, ocean scents, delectable shrimp and ice cold spirits such as Robin Stoney’s infamous “Pain Killers”, horse showing still reigned as the supreme priority.  Friday afternoon’s USHJA National Hunter Classic, sponsored by Rick Hendricks, had more than 25 entrants taking on a diverse two round layout by course designer Allen Rheinheimer. Among the challengers was Elizabeth Boyd [Liza to her friends] of Camden, SC –currently ranked 2nd in the standings for the upcoming $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park on August 19-20th. Boyd and mount Marksmann, the 6 year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by Rio Grande and owned by  Marilla Van Beuren of Middletown, RI, turned in a performance that demonstrated why Boyd is among the best of the best in this sport .

“I just started riding him [Marksmann] in April, but at the Spring Aiken show he was Champion in the 3’3 Performance. He’s green in the sense that he’s never done anything like this [Derby style class] before, but he’s got such a good mind and such a good brain that I think he’s really going to shine in the International Derbies one day. Probably sooner than later, he surprises me with how much knowledge he has for such a young horse.” Boyd said of her partner.  

The course was fairly simple in concept with 10 obstacles and offered riders 4 option fences with the higher be set at 3’3.  In regards to the first round layout Boyd complimented Rheinheimer’s design stating the lines rode very well, “They did a good job of using the whole ring and making the lines where you could do like 12 or 13 strides, so you could really gallop, it almost felt like you were in a totally different ring from what you were in this morning. It felt real open, you could flow in the gallop- you could leave strides out or add, you could really decide depending on your horse. They gave you a lot of nice options and no footage was written down, you just walked it and decided your own track.” In all Boyd had four mounts that she would place in the top 12. Following Boyd closely was Woodstock, GA pro Julie Curtin aboard the Greg Burrow owned Vince and the Martin Schlaeppi entry Ramano.

Moving to the second round, Rheinheimer deigned a handy 8 fence layout which included another 4 options, but with an unusual twist on the last optional fence. After fence #7, a skinny vertical headed directly towards the in gate, riders could opt for a sharp right turn and gallop half way down the rail to an oxer [#8 option 1] in front of the judges or upon clearing fence #7 continue straight out the in gate to take two left turns and jump #8 [option 2] an oxer outside the ring, in front of the spectator tent and continue in a trot to the end of the arena rail.

“Cantering out of the ring I think was a brilliant fun idea. It’s something you use to see a lot in the past, my dad said they use to show at Blowing Rock and they would jump in and out of the ring, then go gallop around an outside course. It takes a lot of discipline to accomplish that and in this day and age I think we’re going back to things from the past, like cantering in and out of the ring. I’ll definitely go home and practice this with my horses now that we’re starting to see it more.” Boyd said.  

She is a strong advocate for trail riding and the use of natural obstacles, sharing her fortunateness in having access to many acres of fox hunt land at home that offer an array of training possibilities from actual hedges to a ring designed to jump in and out of at several points. “I use this with Brunello [her Derby horse] a lot- I’ll jump in the ring, cantering around, and jump out over a hedge. I’m just lucky to have it available.” Boyd shared. However Boyd elected not to take the unique option with her winning mount Marksmann, “I decided that because he is so young, I need to practice that at home first. I’m a real believer in practicing then doing, and I’ve never done it – not even in a Derby so why risk scaring a young horse.” Boyd said.  The pair’s smooth execution over fences in both rounds proved more than enough to impress judges and claim the victory.

Official Results for the $2500 USHJA National Hunter Classic were:

  • 1st Marksmann owned by Marilla Van Beuren and ridden by Liza Boyd
  • 2nd Vince owned by Greg Burrow and ridden by Julie Curtin
  • 3rd Heart Breaker owned by Stephanie Saunders and ridden by Liza Boyd
  • 4th Ramano owned by Martin Schlaeppi and ridden by Julie Curtin
  • 5th Timing owned by Claudia White and ridden by Liza Boyd
  • 6th Brown Ambition owned by Kimberly Kulers and ridden by Liza Boyd
  • 7th Redford owned and ridden by Kyla Roeber
  • 8th Kalifornia owned and ridden by Heather Zuber
  • 9th Firenze owned by Rebekah Warren and ridden by Julie Curtin
  • 10th Venice owned by Kendra New and ridden by Keith Alaimo
  • 11th Immanuel owned by Grace McShane and ridden by Charles Hairfield
  • 12th Versace owned and ridden by Lynn Seithel

A familiar tradition of the Boutique Shows helped kick off Sunday morning-Ringside Mimosas put a little extra spring into steps and broaden smiles all around. Bell and associates strolled from ring to ring with a silver tray full of the sparkling Southern wake me ups. “This is one of our exhibitors’ favorite bits of Southern Hospitality! I start getting asked about Mimosa Sunday on the first day of show!” laughed Bell.  And the hospitality will continue on Monday afternoon with the 19th Annual Unbridled Affair held at Reds Ice House on Seabrook Island- offering sumptuous local seafood, regional specialties, and classic favorites along with toe tapping music and spectacular views from the Marina. “It’s the party not to be missed!” Bell finished.

The Charleston Summer Classics continues with more hunter/jumper action through July 23rd. Admission is free and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week.

For more information or results on the 2011 Charleston Summer Classics please visit www.classiccompany.com and www.horseshowsonline.com or call the show office at 843-768-5867.  

Photo Credit: Liza Boyd & Marksmann ©Flashpoint Photography




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